I had a chance recently to interview Estela Navarro, the legislative intern for Sen. Brad Hawkins.

Hawkins has praised Navarro as one of the valley’s best and brightest.

She graduated from Wenatchee High School in 2018 and was a member of the Apple Blossom Top 10 that year. As a high school junior, she got a taste of what life is like at the Legislature when she served as Hawkins’ page, and she jumped at the opportunity to serve as an intern this session.

“The experience as a page started my interest in public service,” Navarro told me. As a junior at Washington State University, she’s studying economics with a minor in political science and is leaning toward a career in health care policy.

Every day, Navarro goes through all of the emails that Hawkins receives and flags the ones from constituents so he can write a personal note. She also is responsible for following up with constituents via a phone call, which she says comes as a pleasant surprise to people.

“As a constituent in the 12th District, I like knowing that if I write in I’ll get a call back,” she told me. This has been far from a normal intern experience this year because of the hybrid schedule in Olympia.

She’s working full time for the senator while living in Pullman, taking two college courses and also serving as an assistant in her residence hall. Virtually everything she does is on the computer rather than face-to-face, and that has forced her to focus on time management.

“I’m definitely learning a lot — I’m a sponge,” Navarro said. “The pace of the session is so fast, which has really forced me to work at a fast pace and be flexible,” she added.

She believes the experience is giving her important insights into how policies are shaped in a legislative framework — insights that she thinks will help her be more effective when she graduates in 2022 and either heads to graduate school or looks to join the workforce.

While she’s disappointed that she’s not getting the full Olympia experience as an intern, she’s grateful that they have continued the program.

I can see why Sen. Hawkins is so enthusiastic about Navarro. She’s a talented, well-spoken, energetic and thoroughly delightful young woman. I think she’s destined to do some great things and I hope she brings her talents back to the Wenatchee Valley at some point.

Rufus Woods is the publisher emeritus of The Wenatchee World. He may be reached at rwoods@wenatcheeworld.com or 509-665-1162.